How to Fix Touch ID issues on Your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air

If you’re having Touch ID issues on your Mac, there are troubleshooting steps you can follow to resolve the situation. Take a look.

Are you having Touch ID issues on your compatible MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? The troubleshooting steps below address possible hardware and software issues with the fingerprint recognition feature.

First introduced on the iPhone 4S a decade ago, Touch ID is an authentication tool found on all modern iPhones, select iPads, and Macs, including the 2021 iMac. The tool has various features, including the ability to unlock your device, use Apple Pay, log into third-party apps, and make purchases on the different Apple online stores.

Touch ID Issues: Basic Troubleshooting

Once you set up Touch ID on your Mac, you might never run into any problems. And yet, they do occur. Often, things can get easily resolved by cleaning the Touch ID button on the keyboard or resetting the tool. However, other possible solutions will take more time and require tackling various steps.

Time to Clean

Over the years, Apple has made Mac keyboards more durable and less prone to malfunction. However, our fingers aren’t exactly the cleanest part of our bodies. They contain oil and are sometimes wet, which could cause issues. You should clean your Mac keyboard regularly and be sure to wash your hands throughout the day. The keyboard should be cleaned just as you would a mouse or other computer accessory to remove dirt or debris.


Restarting a computer is a great way to resolve various issues, including those dealing with Touch ID. By doing so, your computer resets different functions, and this might be the troubleshooting step you need to resolve the present issue. Follow these steps to reboot:

  1. Turn off your Mac using the Apple menu > Shut Down command.
  2. Press and hold down the power button for 10 seconds, then release it.
  3. After a few seconds, press the power button to restart your Mac.

Add Your Fingerprints Again

Our fingerprints never change. And yet, re-adding them to Touch ID is sometimes necessary to resolve issues. To do so:

  1. Go into the System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Choose Touch ID.
  3. Hover your pointer over the current fingerprint, then click the”X.”
  4. Log into your Mac account, when applicable.
  5. Choose to Delete to remove the current fingerprint.

touch id issues remove fingerprint


  1. Select Add Fingerprint on the same page.
  2. Follow the on-screen directions to add your fingerprint.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to add another fingerprint.

Once you re-add your fingerprint, you may want to adjust the Touch ID settings on the same familiar Touch ID page. By default, your fingerprint will:

  • Unlock your Mac
  • Use with Apple Pay
  • Work with iTunes Store, App Store, and Apple Books
  • Password AutoFill

Toggle on/off your selections.

Touch ID issues: Add fingerprint


Apple sends out regular macOS updates. If you’ve fallen behind installing these, do so now. The update could be the key to getting your Touch ID issues finally resolved.

To look for updates:

  1. Click on the Apple icon at the top left of the menu bar.
  2. Choose About This Mac.
  3. Select Software Update.
  4. Install the update when applicable.

Touch ID Issues: Advanced Troubleshooting

If the previous steps haven’t resolved your Touch ID issues, it’s time to move onto more advanced troubleshooting steps.

Intel Only: Reset SMC

Resetting your Mac’s system management controller is the next step you should take for troubleshooting your Touch ID issues. Unfortunately, this solution only works on Intel-based Macs. If you have a Mac with Apple Silicon, restart your computer.

To reset SMC on Intel MacBooks with a T2 security chip:

  1. First, turn off your Mac using the Apple menu > Shut Down command.
  2. Next, hold down the following three keys for seven seconds: Control, Option, and Shift.
  3. Continue holding the three keys while also holding the power button for an additional seven seconds.
  4. Stop holding all four keys and wait 10 seconds.
  5. Power up the machine.

To reset SMC on Intel desktop Macs with a T2 security chip, including the 2021 iMac with Touch ID:

  1. Shut down your Mac, then unplug the power cord.
  2. Wait 15 seconds, then plug the power cord back in.
  3. Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on your Mac.

To reset SMC on all other Intel-based Macs, follow directions from the Apple website.

Once you turn the computer back on, check and see if the Touch ID issues have been resolved.

Safe Mode

One final troubleshooting step you can follow to fix the Touch ID problem is to reboot your computer into Safe Mode.

On Intel Macs:

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Quickly tap the power button, then press and hold the Shift key.
  3. Stop holding the Shift key once you see the login screen.
  4. Log in to the computer in Safe Mode and see if the issue is now resolved.

On Apple silicon Macs:

  1. Turn off your computer.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Release the power button when you see the startup window.
  4. Choose your startup disk, then press and hold the Shift key.
  5. Select Continue to enter Safe Mode.
  6. Release the Shift key.

Touch ID Issues: Technical Support

If your Touch ID issues continue even after performing the troubleshooting techniques above, it’s best to contact Apple for assistance. It’s possible your Mac needs hardware replaced to resolve the situation.

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